Family travel: In the festive spirit

It's that time of year again — board the Polar Express or take in a festive show, before browsing the stalls of a German-style Christmas market

By Maria Pieri
Published 8 Nov 2015, 08:00 GMT, Updated 5 Jul 2021, 12:23 BST

The train ride
Inspired by the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg and the eponymous film, the Polar Express whisks families from Dartmoor and Weardale on a make-believe journey to the 'North Pole' where Santa and his elves greet them. Expect hot chocolate, cookies, a visit from the conductor, Santa and a silver bell as a gift. From £28 for children and £37 for adults.

The London Christmas Show
Classics include The Nutcracker, Matilda, The Snowman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and an updated A Christmas Carol with Jim Broadbent as Ebenezer Scrooge. For a slightly older crowd, there's Elf: The Musical or Damon Albarn's modern-day parable, the new Wonder.Land, inspired by Alice in Wonderland but with a twist.

The Christmas Markets
Make a weekend of it and enjoy the mulled wine, candied peel and traditional gifts and wares of the Christmas markets, in one of the UK's classic cities or towns: from Edinburgh or York to Oxford, Salisbury or Bath, to name just a few. Lincoln Christmas Market (3-6 December) was the first UK Christmas market to be revived and is still going strong 30 years on.

Published in the November 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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